If the latest polling from YouGov for the Sunday Times is to be believed then the public loathing of the Liberal Democrats is thawing rapidly, as Labour’s credibility plumets. As the austerity measures begin to bite, the parties of Government should be very unpopular and Labour very popular and yet only 90% of those who voted Labour last time say they would vote for them again now. 2% of former Labour voters are now switching to the Liberal Democrats, and 4% are switching to the Tories, and that is from a Labour Party that at the 2010 General election had its lowest vote in modern history.
The polling also shows that 34% of those who say they voted Lib Dem last time consider themselves Lib Dems. That is over 2 million people who call themselves Liberal Democrats at a time when its not the fashionable thing to say.
What is really intersting about this poll though is that the Liberal Democrat brand is less popular than its leader, and both are less popular than their policies. This is a unique situation for the Liberal Democrats, and if they exploit this situation well in the coming months then their future is looking good.
Support for Liberal Democrat policies stands at:
- 86% agree the Income Tax threshold should be raised to £ 10,000;
- 64% agree the top rate of tax should remain at 50% for the time being;
- 66% agree with introducing the mansion tax;
- 72% of the country agree with the benefits cap;
- 57% of people think child benefit should be included in the cap; and
- 58% think that Bishops should not sit in the House of Lords.
Whilst 62% think that the wealthiest should be paying more, the Liberal Democrats have won the argument that this is best achieved through the mansion tax rather than through income tax.
Nick Clegg’s popularity as Lib Dem Leader is up 5 points to 26%, widening the gap between himself and Labour’s Leader on 20% and closing the gap on David Cameron on 46%.
As for the likely number of seats which each party would win in a general election:
Current YouGov Polling:
- Conservatives 39%
- Labour 40%
- Liberal Democrats 8%.
At the last General Election:
- Conservatives 47%
- Labour 40%
- Lib Dems 8%
A 1% gap between the Conservatives and Labour, and the prospect of a second coaltion is not a strong position for Labour at this stage in the parliament. Indeed, it could be argued right now that as we are heading for another coalition Government, the only way to be certain of having an MP in Government is to vote Lib Dem and therefore a Labour vote is a wasted vote. Not that a Lib Dem should ever resort to such an argument, not when they are wining the policy debates so decisively.